Deer Hunting Could Be Coming To Eagle Creek Park
City says population needs to be thinned; flowers and other vegetation suffering
Jul. 21, 2014
Deer hunting might be coming to Eagle Creek Park.
The parks department in Indianapolis has long thought the deer population was exploding at Eagle Creek, and now it says it has evidence. It's from a recent report from an ecologist at Purdue University. "(As of) October 2013, we're pretty confident that deer population is about ten times what it should be for a park that size," said Scott Manning with the city's Office of Sustainability, who says neither hunting nor other methods of controlling the deer population have been tried. "The deer population has come to a head in the last ten years or so. There have been ongoing conversations, and now all potential options are being considered, but none have been tried."
Hunting is allowed at state parks, which supporters say have kept the population manageable. It is not allowed at city parks in Indianapolis, and Manning says vegetation is disappearing. "A lot of the wildflowers and native plants are overforged by the deer. In the case of Eagle Creek, wildflowers are almost non-existent in much of the park," Manning said. Those have been replaced by invasive plants that are not native to the area.
Hunting in Eagle Creek or any other city park would have to be approved by the city parks board as well as the City-County Council. So would any other options for culling the population, such as contraception. "There are a number of different options available to reduce the population. We are reviewing those to review what's best for Eagle Creek," Manning said, adding that they are looking for a long-term plan, saying they will need something that can be done every year.